The end of India's Women's World T20 campaign in November was marred by a dispute around Mithali Raj's exclusion from the Xi and she found herself on the outside once again as the team played their first match since losing that semi-final in November. ESPNcricinfo understands that Raj will likely be picked for the T20I series against England next month even as uncertainty continues over her role in the shortest format.
Raj was part of the 15-member squad to take on New Zealand in three T20Is starting on Wednesday. But she wasn't picked to play the series opener in Wellington. After India lost the match by 23 runs, T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur said Raj's exclusion was "only" down to giving more game-time to the younger players in the side.
"Well, we are just looking to give chance to young girls," Harmanpreet said. "We only have these three overseas games and after that we are playing in more Indian conditions and I think that's the only reason we're giving chances to the young girls."
The pace that Raj scores at was a major factor in her being left out at the World T20. She played two innings in the tournament, scoring 107 runs, but at a strike rate of 104. Then coach Ramesh Powar wrote a report to the BCCI saying the veteran was putting pressure on the rest of the line-up with her rate of scoring. Raj had fired her own volleys as well, claiming she had been "deflated, depressed and let down" by the way she had been treated by the team and the BCCI.
Prior to departing for New Zealand, Raj addressed a press conference saying she and Harmanpreet had moved on from their differences.